2018 Container Gardening–Week Seven

I’m thrilled to say my nasturtium flowered this week, just as I’d basically given up. One thing that I know I did wrong with it was that I fertilized it, and I’ve now read fertilizing it probably made the plant want to produce more leaves vs. flowers. I had an abundance of leaves so this pearl of wisdom made sense to me.

Temperatures this week were in the mid-eighties and I was able to harvest two more pear tomatoes. One of my non-smelling geraniums bit the dust so I replaced it with a lovely pot of petunias I found on clearance. Next up I am anticipating the ripening of half a dozen tomatoes on my two patio tomato plants.

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2018 Container Gardening – Week Four

My fourth week of gardening was filled with clouds, then rain, some humidity, and then cooler weather. All of my plants seemed to benefit from this. There is definitely a rhythm to gardening this year–in that there is an abundance of mosquitos to deal with. We are still feeding the Baltimore Orioles and American Finches, but this week will be one of the last weeks to do so. So, between work and play there is dodging in and out with water (to avoid mosquitos) the constant feeding and watering of many birds (and clean-up), and of course the ever busy business of sourcing fresh locally grown food. This week in our area there is rhubarb and strawberries available. Usually, I buy a lot of both and freeze, but we haven’t been eating either as much as past years. So, I will buy enough to enjoy eating for a few meals and that will be sufficient. Until next time–happy gardening! P.S. Oh ya my nasturtiums still haven’t flowered!










Hello August!

Can it be that summer is almost over? As of this month I’ve been at my container garden now for almost 8 months. From my failed starter plants I worked on in January and February, to the young plants I nurtured inside March until late April that became my super producers all summer long. My two 8″ tomato plants grew to almost 3 ft and are still producing tomatoes. So far I’ve harvested 12 med., med large tomatoes with about 10 more ready to turn any day. My spindly tomato plant that survived a couple of frosts ended up giving me over 30 cherry tomatoes. Best tomatoes ever! My rosemary has quadrupled in size, as have my shrubs (doubled) and this years New Guinea Impatiens are gorgeous.  Herbs have been dried and preserved and several of my plant containers have been emptied, and cleaned up for next year. In just a few weeks fall will be upon on and I definitely feel like this year’s container garden was my best yet. A lot of work, but a lot of rewards and I’m already looking ahead to next year. P.S. Although my pumpkin plants bit the dust last week thanks to leaf rot and gnats, my sunflowers and zinnias are ready to bloom any day now. Pictures soon! Until next time–be well!





Container Gardening 2017

I planted lettuce plants 10 days apart, all of which were bought at the same time, same place, but I ran out of big box potting soil for the rest of my veggies and six of my lettuce plants.  Every year I use regular potting soil from a big box and I add nutrients/minerals to the soil. Last year I bought really expensive organic fertilizer, that did absolutely nothing for any of the vegetables I was growing. This year via Facebook I noticed the coop I shop at was stocking Purple Cow Organics products**.  We found someone local who carried them and proceeded that very night to plant the rest of the lettuce and veggies.

I re-potted a tomato plant, that had been severely frost burnt, in Purple Cow Organics Tomato Gro. Currently, that tomato plant is thriving, the one I did not replant died in big box potting soil.

Side by side you can see big box vs. Purple Cow Organics– the big box potting soil lettuce plants were given a 10-day headstart and still we’re not even close to a lettuce salad.

The lettuce planted 10 days ago in Purple Cow Organics is ready and waiting to be harvested. This picture was taken 3 days ago for a photo op, today I am planning on harvesting what I can and having a salad. The beauty of all of it is the lettuce will grow back and we will have several salads from these six plants.

Ten days ago this was a container filled with Purple Cow Organic Potting Mix and three seed potatoes–today a potato plant appears! So get out there and get you some and enjoy that first homegrown salad grown all by yourself (with a little help from Purple Cow Organics, of course)! 🙂 Enjoy.

P.S. I have had a few comments as to why I don’t start lettuce via seeds and not plants. The answer to that question is we have north and west windows only. Every seed I have tried to start in this apartment either does not germinate, germinates and molds, or gets leggy and dies before spring planting.

**not compensated in any way by Purple Cow Organics for my awesome experience using their products and then blogging about it.**

Summer menu ideas & herbs

Menu gif

Summer Menu Time- What’s Cooking?

Breakfast in the summertime is usually fruit leftover from our meal the night before. And water, lots of cold water with lemons and cucumbers in it.
Lunch- Lots of salads. Is there anything better than a fresh from the garden cucumber diced with fresh tomatoes, peppers, and buttery lettuce? We have salads for dinner too though we throw in chicken, eggs and sometimes sliced Fuji apples to make a more filling meal.
Monday– Monday has to be an easy day for us, meal wise, so it’s often a quick pasta dish like Shrimp Scampi Zoodles.
Tuesday-Once a week we have breakfast for dinner. Since I froze quite a bit of asparagus, lately it’s been Mini Quiches w/asparagus.
Wednesday– I volunteer after work on Wednesdays, so I pack a salad and a snack bar. My husband usually makes a pizza.
ThursdaySouthwestern Chicken wraps and soup- usually homemade that I defrost in refrigerator -(it’s good for two meals)
Friday– We almost always have seafood for dinner on Fridays so it’s either a local fish fry or I make something with salmon like Salmon Cakes with Cucumber Dill Salad.
Saturday-I grill once a week 9 months out of the year. I love grilling. In the summer we have hamburgers, hot dogs, and brats. Once in awhile, I will BBQ a whole chicken.
Sunday-We almost always have roast chicken for dinner on Sundays. Now that I am able to source new baby potatoes we have those, fresh onions, fresh tomatoes, fresh parsley (potatoes) and fresh rosemary(chicken) and homemade baked beans.

This past weekend we took a ride to our local farm stand and loaded up. We bought a flat of strawberries, some yellow marigolds, another tomato plant,  some more thyme, parsley, new potatoes, radishes, butter lettuce, and peaches. For two grocery bags full it cost us $23.00. I was able to get 5 -4″ pots of thyme for $1.50.  Here is a couple of pictures of my patio garden. I am thrilled to say I already have 3 small tomatoes on one of my plants. I’m also happy to say my lavender is near flowering.

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That’s all for now. Until next time–be well!

Summertime and Salsa

tomato salsa

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Summertime

Officially, according to most, summer is half over. But I’m an optimistic kind of gal and I feel like it’s just beginning. There’s a lot of summer left in the Midwest, lots of time to go swimming, kick a ball around, have a picnic, even pick some tomatoes fresh from the vine.

That’s what I’m doing this week, and I’m making salsa, sauce, and soup from them.  I am a month out from my foot surgery, and though it is slow going for one toe, the Franken toe (very scary looking one) is almost fully healed and looks brand new. The toe that needed to be fixed, thanks to my last podiatrist’s careless neglect, is still healing and bothering me.  It’s time though to start canning tomatoes and freezing some of this year’s harvest for winter.

My husband and I just celebrated our 20th anniversary as a couple.   It seems like just yesterday that we were working side by side in a nursing home and yours truly ( a famous flirt) finally got up the courage to ask a guy out for the first time. He said yes without hesitation, lucky me, and the rest, as they say, is history.  What a difference the right person in your life makes towards your happiness and well -being.   To celebrate we got together with some friends and had a wonderful party, filled with good food and lots of fun. We grilled chicken and lots of steaks for the meat eaters and ate veggies straight from the garden. Our patio flowers are coming along, though a few went south and were turned into mulch. A favorite this summer is our lovely petunias.  A couple of weekends ago my husband planted miniature pumpkins and lavender in the empty pots. I cannot wait to see if the mini pumpkins work out.

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I’ll share the salsa recipe and wish you all a fantastic rest of the summer..

Ingredients:

  • 10 pounds tomatoes
  • 3 large sweet onions, finely chopped
  • 2 medium sweet red peppers, finely choppedi
  • 2 medium green peppers, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 4-1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 2-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons canning salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions:

  • In a large saucepan, bring 8 cups water to a boil. Add tomatoes, a
  • few at a time; boil for 30 seconds. Drain and immediately place
  • tomatoes in ice water. Drain and pat dry; peel and finely chop.
  • Place in a stockpot. Add onions and peppers.
  • Place mustard and celery seed on a double thickness of cheesecloth;
  • bring up corners of cloth and tie with string to form a bag. Add
  • spice bag and the remaining ingredients to the pot. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 60-75 minutes or until
  • slightly thickened. Discard spice bag.
  • Carefully ladle relish into hot 1-pint jars, leaving 1/2-in.

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